With a rotten 2016 behind us and a daunting year ahead, there’s no better time to take things into our own hands. Since global politics and economics are spiralling off the chart of understanding, 2017 is all about taking small and simple steps to make the world a better place (even the Queen expressed these sentiments in her Christmas Day speech). Travelling responsibly is a great place to start, since a few considerations can make a huge difference to people's livelihood and the protection of destinations. Here are a few tips from Holly Tuppen to get you going…
Treat water with respect
Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply 40% by 2030. Yet most of us still take water for granted numerous times a day, even when travelling to areas of water scarcity such as Africa and Asia. Hotels are getting better at seriously addressing water shortages in their local area by, for example, using grey water where possible and collecting rain water. However, as guests we can add to their efforts - reduce laundry, avoid bottled water where possible and opt for a shower over a bath.
Bags, bottles, microscopic polymers in lotions… Plastic pollution, in many forms, is devastating sea-life and island communities. Whilst we’re becoming pros at reducing our plastic bag consumption here in the UK, it’s easy to take a more lax approach on holiday. But often that’s when putting consideration over convenience is most important. Remove packaging before travelling, take reusable bags and bottles and do everything you can to follow local recycling regulations.
Travel experiences are heightened by a little background knowledge so don’t hold back when it comes to finding out as much as possible about your hotel. The more inquisitive guests are about responsible and sustainable practices, the more hoteliers will up their game! How sustainable is the fresh sashimi? Where do the staff come from and do they seem happy in their jobs? Are soft furnishings made locally? How can guests help protect the local wildlife?
It can grate to pay towards carbon off-setting or charity schemes on top of an already expensive holiday but in reality, it’s often a small price to pay for our global freedom. If a hotel asks for a contribution don’t feel you need to cough up without knowing exactly where the money is going - if they are serious about their charity work and carbon off-setting - there should be a member of staff around who can explain exactly where the money goes.
A version of this article was first written for LUX* Magazine. LUX* Resorts’ Tread Lightly scheme includes contributing to carbon-offsetting projects, bottling water in-house, running renewable energy projects and water-optimisation programmes.